A newborn is the first patient to experience the new addition at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center. She’s also the last to be born in a birthing unit where thousands of local residents came into the world.
Teagan Rose Vogt, born in the wee hours of July 24, was delivered in the former WhidbeyHealth Family Birthplace by Dr. Melissa Chinn, said Patricia Duff, WhidbeyHealth spokesperson.
Daughter of Alicia and Tim Vogt of Oak Harbor, she came into the world at 4:32 a.m. at 9 pounds., 21 inches.
A few hours later when the new wing officially opened, baby Vogt and mother Alicia were transferred to the hospital’s new labor and delivery unit.
They were greeted by staff excited to finally see patients instead of construction workers in the sprawling new and quiet space.
“They just wheeled Teagan and I down the hallway into the new wing like a parade waving to everyone,” Alicia Vogt said.
Under construction for about 18 months, building design features include big windows flooding in sunlight, comfortable furniture for overnight visitors, and patient rooms with better infection control and less maintenance need.
A $50-million bond approved by voters in 2013 financed the two-floor 60,000-square-foot addition and a renovation project. The new wing’s 39 single-bed rooms replace the current intensive care unit, medical and surgical patient rooms and birthing unit.
Recovering in one of the addition’s four spacious and sparkling labor and delivery suites, complete with private massage hot tubs, Alicia Vogt could tell that Monday was a day of transition.
“I think everyone is still finding their bearings with the move and trying to figure out where everything is. But it’s all been very smooth and comfortable for us,” Alicia Vogt said.
“It’s a beautiful facility and everyone has been very accommodating.”
Ten patients were transferred Monday, Duff said.
“The staff has been working long and hard to make sure they knew where everything was and how the new equipment worked,”said WhidbeyHealth CEO Geri Forbes. “It’s been a very long month.”
The old patient rooms are being converted to recovery areas for outpatient surgery.
A public open house is planned when that renovation is complete.
A finishing touch added last weekend is hard to miss at the new addition’s entrance. It’s a history timeline of health care on Whidbey Island going back some 170 years.
Based on the book by local historian Theresa Trebon, the timeline is an impressive time travel beginning with the first doctor, John Kellogg, delivering his first patient, Hetty Ebey, daughter of the first white settlers.
The need for a safe place to give birth that didn’t require a boat or a long drive was one of the several factors leading to Whidbey opening its first community hospital in 1970.
The timeline features the stories of many key people, including Bob Zylstra who served as CEO for Whidbey General for nearly 30 years.
Tim Vogt said he and his wife toured area hospitals to decide on the best one for delivery. Even though the walk-through at WhidbeyHealth occurred in the “old” section, Vogt said staff made the difference.
“Just the walk-through with the nurses when we did the tour cemented our decision to have the baby here,” he said.
“We just felt very comfortable with the nurses in the short time they were showing us around. It just felt good.”
About 200 babies are born at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center annrually.